The Kia GT concept from 2011 showcased the company’s first rear-wheel-drive platform, while also wearing the brand’s new styling language.
According to Kia, work on the GT concept started back in November of last year – although the idea of producing a sporty RWD car had been bouncing around Kia’s European design studio for some time. Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer said of the GT: “This concept allows us to explore exciting new design directions, as using a rear-drive layout creates very different proportions compared to a front-wheel drive car. The classic front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout of a performance saloon has distinct appeal not just for the domestic Korean audience, but also for the European and American markets.”
What will appeal to driver’s from almost every corner of the globe is the Kia GT’s drivetrain. Mounted up front is a turbocharged, direct-injection, 3.3 litre V6 which puts out 395 horsepower and 534 Nm (393 lb-ft) of torque. The transmission is handled by an 8-speed automatic unit. There aren’t any performance numbers yet, but with power output figures like that it should see off all but the best equipped German sedans – in a straight line anyway.
The Kia GT’s styling takes some inspiration from the Kia Kee concept from 2007, but it also features similar rounded lines to the quirky Kia POP concept from 2010 – albeit in a much more desirable package.
One of the key goals of the design team was to clearly convey the fact the Kia GT is based on a RWD platform. To do that they decided to give the car a long hood, a cab-rearward profile, muscular rear wheel arches and a neatly rounded tail. The unique a-pillar design is a nice touch, as are the complicated but stylish headlights.
Inside the Kia GT are single-piece bucket seats which seat neatly in the uncluttered passenger compartment. The designers deliberately chose to make the center console high and wide in order to accentuate the car’s sporty drivetrain. The glass instrument panel features three layers of organic LED lights. This not only gives the display a 3D quality, but also allows more information to be served up to the driver at any one time. Buttons mounted on the sporty three-spoke steering wheel allow the driver to select the desired data display.
The large red starter button and twist-and-go transmission selector are combined in a single compact unit, freeing up space on the central transmission tunnel.
Schreyer believes the Kia GT is less about one particular vehicle and more about an overarching theme which will influence their next project. “One of the great things about working on this project was that this is a very real car. It felt good to be working on a car that could roll down the road tomorrow. Yes, it would be a dream to put this into production – it has a logical layout, with four seats, and good luggage space, and it’s also engaging and dynamic and makes a strong statement. It’s exactly the kind of car Kia should be making.”